Kimi ga Nozomu Eien Vol. #7 (of 7) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Thursday, July 14, 2005
Release Date: Wednesday, August 25, 2004
What They Say
This is the story of four high school friends, Takayuki Narumi, Haruka Suzumiya, Mitsuki Hayase, and Shinji Taira. Takayuki is drifting a bit and not really thinking about college entrance exams. After meeting Haruka he feels better about himself and starts moving in a new direction. When tragedy strikes, how will everyone handle it and can they move on with their lives?
The only audio track available is a Dolby Digital 2.0 Japanese track encoded at 448 kbps, and it’s more than enough for this show. The audio is primarily dialogue, which comes through clean and clear. The mix is relatively static with only a few instances of directionality, but the music sounds excellent.
The aspect ratio here is the original full frame one, and though it would have been nice to have a bit more of a cinematic scope if the show were done in widescreen, it works just fine as-is. Colors are vibrant without bleeding or banding, and the linework is solid. Of course you’d expect this from a slow-paced show without much movement. There’s some dot crawl and color bleeding in the trailers, but thankfully the show is unaffected.
The front cover art features a nice shot of Akane, Haruka, and Mitsuki embracing by character designer Yoko Kikuchi, while the back cover has the requisite screenshots and episode summaries. Available as a first edition bonus is a reversible DVD cover illustrated by the game’s CG artist, Baka Ouji Persia, featuring a stunning illustration of Akane, Haruka, and Mitsuki laying nude on a bed while feathers float around them. The DVD booklet includes an Ayu-Mayu Theater roundup and SD illustrations of most of the main cast.
The main menu is very minimalist, with no animation or fancy transitions, and features the illustration from the cover as a backdrop and the opening song playing while you make your selections. The submenus are just as plain, and though they get the job done, it would have been nice to have something with a bit more visual appeal. On the plus side, making selections is lightning fast.
The final set of extras includes a teaser trailer for the Akane Maniax OVA and Media Factory trailers for Bakuretsu Tenshi, Gravion Zwei, Shura no Toki, and Kurau: Phantom Memory.
For an additional 800 yen over the regular edition a real copy of Haruka’s Hontou no Takaramono storybook seen in the ending is included.
Content: (may contain spoilers)
A lot has happened in the past 12 episodes, and we’ve been privy to all the events of the past and present that have culminated in the fine mess of current affairs. Takayuki is still agonizing over his situation and has yet to take an assertive step due to his kind nature not wanting to hurt anyone, oblivious to the fact that his indecision is doing exactly that.
Haruka awakens from her second coma and realizes three years have passed despite holes in her memory. Taking it rather well, she asks Takayuki if he’s seeing anyone and he says that he isn’t. Wanting to catch up, Haruka wishes to see Mitsuki, but things go awry when Mitsuki reveals to Haruka that she and Takayuki were an item. Suppressing her feelings for him, she tells Haruka that any guy would have been okay to fill her loneliness, resulting in a meaty slap to the face.
In the middle of the seriousness some time is made for more amusing sequences at the Sky Temple restaurant, which help to lighten the mood. Walking around town, Takayuki runs into Fumio, one of the nurses taking care of Haruka. During the course of their conversation, she says some things that he takes to heart, and he heads back to the hospital to further inform Haruka about what’s been happening. There he’s greeted by Dr. Kozuki, who tells him that Haruka entered rehabilitation to get her physical strength back and walk again.
Haruka has a bit of an emotional growth spurt, and seems more grounded after the incident with Mitsuki. She tells Takayuki that she was passive in the past but is going to try her best from now on. Highlighting this, Takayuki offers to push her wheelchair but she turns him down and says that she can do it herself. Soon after, Takayuki goes to Haruka’s room to talk but stops in the hallway when he hears her sobbing inside, anguished about her lost time and physicality. She very much wants to be with Takayuki but he runs away instead of going in to comfort her. Finally getting up some nerve later on, he tells Haruka that they need to talk and she agrees.
On the beach by the hospital at sunset, Takayuki finally gets his head together and tells Haruka that he has feelings for Mitsuki, and didn’t appreciate that she was there for him even when he didn’t know it. He regrets hurting her, and hopes to make things right if they meet again. Haruka realizes that the man that she loved is no longer there and that time has moved on without her. Tears are shed and she recounts the story from the Mayauru no Okurimono book, ending by bidding Takayuki goodbye with a smile while tears stream down both of their faces as he walks away. The scene is emotionally wrenching and leaves quite an impression not even halfway through the final episode.
Takayuki spends a good amount of time desperately trying to find Mitsuki, even pushing away his new full time job, and eventually ends up at the familiar tree on the hill. Sitting alone, he’s surprised when she comes up behind him, but upon seeing him there she tries to run away. He catches her and pours everything out, and Mitsuki sees that she’s not a replacement for Haruka and that Takayuki’s feelings are real and unclouded. As they embrace the rain stops and the sun starts shining through the clouds.
The remainder of the final episode is given over to wrapping things up for everyone, as Haruka completes her rehab and leaves the hospital on her own two feet. We see a cleaning woman leaving Takayuki’s apartment, which is now empty because he finally got a place with Mitsuki. In the final time shift, we get a nice epilogue set a few years later, where Haruka is now a picture book author, and we get to see her newest work, Hontou no Takaramono. Amusingly, it’s a story of four ferret friends and a tree on a hill that bears more than a passing resemblance to real-life events. The book catches Takayuki’s eye in passing, and he smiles when he sees Haruka’s name with a new last name appended to it. Shinji is with Miki, the girl he met in college, and the two are seen happily walking about together. Akane goes on to a successful swimming career and thanks Mitsuki for inspiring her, making Mitsuki cry as she reads it in the paper. The music is wonderful and seeing everyone moved on and happy is truly gratifying. After all the ups and downs they went through, it’s much-deserved.
The final episodes sport numerous improvements to the animation over the broadcast version, including added detail, recomposed shots, and different color schemes in some scenes. The epilogue sequence also features improved animation and is extended by an additional four minutes, showing more of Haruka’s book as well as adding a new final scene that gives a bit more closure than the originally broadcast ending.
Compared to the mega-hit game that spawned it, the anime adaptation takes some liberties but stays true to the story being told. In the game’s numerous story branches Takayuki could end up with just about anyone that moved aside from Shinji, including Akane, the nurses, and even the waitresses he works with. Given the close-ended nature of animating the show, the producers did a good job of setting up Haruka and Mitsuki as the main options and fleshing out their respective motivations. Even though it’s obvious who the two lead females are, it was nice to see various bits of other story branches from the game as well as in-jokes sprinkled throughout. Making the transition complete was the inclusion of music from the game, which perfectly complemented the visuals when used.
Reduced to its core, this is a story about moving forward and making decisions without regret. Takayuki hesitates when forced to look into the past, and in doing so causes pain for the people he cares about most. The show isn’t for everyone, and could have used a bit more exposition at the beginning, but in terms of raw emotion and making you feel, it’s right up there with the best. The ending is satisfying even if not completely agreeable, and if necessary there’s an official special fan disc game that allows replay of the past arc to prevent Haruka’s accident, opening up new ways the story could have turned out. While not completely original, the show is simple in its execution, poignant in its storytelling, and relies largely on the strength (or lack thereof) of its characters to carry it. In this the show largely succeeds and it’s easy to get invested in the characters and root for them. A superb emotional rollercoaster ride over 14 episodes, Kimi ga Nozomu Eien remains memorable long after its logo fades away for the final time.
Japanese 2.0 Language,Akane Maniax teaser,Media Factory trailers
Sony KLV-23M1 23” LCD HDTV, Toshiba SD-4900 progressive region-free player via Acoustic Research component cables, Sony STR-DE897/S receiver, Sony SA-VE367T 7.1 channel speaker system.
Mania Grade: A
Audio Rating: A-
Video Rating: A-
Packaging Rating: A
Menus Rating: B-
Extras Rating: A-
Age Rating: All
Region: 2 - Japan
Released By: Media Factory
Running time: 55
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Rumbling Hearts